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Archives – April, 2011

Marc Mutty all like, ‘No — by ‘dangerous’ and ‘hyperbole’ and ‘not completely accurate’ I meant ‘AWESOME!”

Like I wrote last week, it’s difficult to determine whether Ken Mehlman or Marc Mutty has more for which to atone. Marc keeps himself in the running with this -Adam

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

Remember those clips from the forthcoming Question 1 documentary wherein Marc Mutty, the director of Maine’s “Yes on One” campaign, pretty much admitted that his side’s ads were disingenuous, at best? Yea, well: Mutty has now broken his silence. But rather than actually explain what he meant or take some sense of responsibility for what he admitted were hyperbole-filled ads, Marc’s playing the “out of context” card. Oh, and the victim card, too.

This from the Portland Press Herald, some snippets and link to Mutty’s full “explanation”:

PPH• First and foremost, let me say directly that I fully support the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

• Second, this campaign was a long, painful process, made all the more difficult by the fact that the campaign staff and I were harassed and threatened repeatedly, to the point that I was concerned for the safety of my staff and our families.

Our computers were hacked, our campaign office was vandalized, death threats were made and our family members were shunned and verbally attacked.

It was with this in mind that I said I would never do such a campaign again, knowing the toll it would take on my personal health, and on the well-being of my staff given the degree of antagonism that our position generated from some gay activists and their supporters.

• Third, the Nemitz column extracted video clips out of context and made it appear that I did not believe the truth of our claims that homosexual marriage would be taught to children in the schools.

This is again a misrepresentation; I firmly believe that children should be taught to respect the dignity of all people.

However, legalizing same-sex marriage will redefine our core understanding of marriage as we know it, and have known it since the beginning of time, forever.

• And finally, this campaign was personally and professionally painful and difficult.”

Maine Voices: Yes on 1 campaign worthwhile [PPH]

Simply unreal. This is a man who chose, by how own volition, to step up and take — TO TAKE BACK! — a legislatively-granted civil right via a crude campaign filled with rhetoric that he himself now calls “dangerous.” And yet *HE* is the victim here?!

This writer worked very closely with Maine’s pro-equality campaign and all involved. Were computers hacked? Offices vandalized? Death threats waged? Well, all we can do is take Mr. Mutty on his word on that. But if these incidents did happen, then they (a) went unreported, and (b) were not anywhere close to representative of the intensely positive campaign that “No on One” ran. And if any incidents like this did happen (and Mr. Mutty isn’t planning on years later admitting that these claims are also hyperbolic misrepresentations) then they are born out of the ugly tone of this highly-charged situation — a tone that is set not by the very human idea of people who want to be treated with dignity and respect by the country they love but rather those who do attempt to limit the spectrum of normalcy and its associated rights/protections/benefits!

We would repudiate such incidents, nonetheless. But that doesn’t change that fact that Mr. Mutty’s “professionally painful and difficult” was more of a personal insult to LGBT people and their allies then he could ever possibly know. It’s a shame to see that he’s still campaigning.

31 Comments April 26, 2011

More coverage and analysis on Prop 8 sponsors’ motion to vacate ruling

By Adam Bink

A roundup of some interesting notes and analysis pieces this morning.

From SCOTUSBlog (bolding mine on the process parts):

In the new maneuver, the opponents of same-sex marriage relied upon comments that Walker had made in April, after his retirement, to a group of reporters, acknowledging publicly for the first time that he had been engaged in a ten-year same-sex relationship with a doctor.  The motion asserted that the opponents were “not suggesting that a gay or lesbian judge could not sit on his case.”  Rather, they argued that Judge Walker had a personal interest in the outcome of the case, because he may wish to marry his partner if Proposition 8 no longer exists.  At a minimum, the motion argued, he should have disclosed that relationship and whether he has any interest in marriage so that the parties in the case could evaluate whether to formally demand that he step aside under federal laws governing such disqualifications.

To help bolster their argument that Walker’s impartiality is clearly open to question, the motion listed a series of actions that he had taken during the progress of the case, and then commented: “The unprecedented, irregular, and/or peremptory nature of these rulings is difficult — very difficult — to take as the product of an objective, impartial judicial mind.”  While conceding that judicial rulings by themselves almost never amount to a valid basis for a disqualification demand, these rulings, it said, “are nevertheless highly relevant to the inquiry” under federal law.

Technically, the proposed order that the opponents filed with their motion would have Judge Ware declare that he “would grant” the motion to wipe out the ruling, so that the opponents could then go to the Circuit Court and ask it to send the current appeal back to him for that purpose.

At the Circuit Court, aside from the pending motion to permanently seal the videotape of the trial, the case is in an inactive state while the Circuit Court panel awaits a ruling — not expected until this Fall at the earliest — from the California Supreme Court on an issue of California state law that may influence whether the Proposition 8 backers’ appeal against the Walker ruling can proceed.  Of course, if the motion to vacate were ultimately granted, that would end the case, although an appeal of that would surely be pursued by the two same-sex couples who filed the successful challenge to Proposition 8.

A baseball analogy from The Atlantic’s Andrew Cohen, former chief legal analyst for CBS News and Murrow Award winner, in a piece titled “Why the New Prop 8 Argument is Bogus — And Offensive”:

The legal argument that a veteran federal judge cannot fairly preside over a trial involving gay marriage because he is gay and in a relationship is so preposterous that it requires me to use a sports analogy to express my disdain. I know: Now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, first appointed by President Reagan and then re-appointed by President George H.W. Bush, surely deserves better than that for his patient work on the Proposition 8 case. But it’s the best I can do in the circumstances.

So let me take you to the baseball diamond. It’s the Yankees versus the Red Sox (don’t read anything into my selection of teams, pick your own if you’d like). The Red Sox are crushing their opponents. It’s 15-0 in the 6th inning. The Yankees’ pitchers aren’t pitching and the Yankees’ hitters aren’t hitting. The bases are loaded with Sox and New York manager Joe Girardi decides after a visit to the mound notto replace his pitcher, who has been battered about like a rag doll by Boston’s hitters.

What we have here with this new argument, then, is a vestige of the very bias and bigotry that gay and lesbian Americans have had to deal with for all these years.”Are you sure about that decision, Joe?” the home plate umpire politely asks Girardi as the manager begins to walk off the field. “I just want to make sure I’ve given you a chance to try something else.”

“We’re fine, ump,” Girardi responds. And the game continues. It ends 21-0. Eight months later, the Yankees find out that the umpire was dating someone from Boston. They immediately call Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and share with him their new evidence.

“The game was rigged!” the Yankees cry. “That ump had it in for us. The fact that he is dating someone from Boston creates a reasonable suspicion that he was unfair and called the game in favor of the Red Sox. The game should be a do-over.”

“But you guys got crushed,” Selig responds. “It was never a close game. What, possibly, could this umpire have done to influence the impact of this game more than he otherwise would do in the normal course of business?”

“He’s from Boston, judge,” the Yankees say. “That’s all you really need to know.”

That is the magnitude of the silliness we are talking about here. That’s how much of a rout last summer’s Proposition 8 trial was. And that’s why the argument, now made by some same-sex marriage opponents, is so dubious. Having lost on the merits, and with polls showing support for same-sex marriage growing, Prop 8’s tribunes want to vacate Judge Walker’s landmark ruling because he is gay and in a relationship. That’s right. Having come to court with virtually no evidence or arguments, having had their hats handed to them by same-sex marriage proponents David Boies and Ted Olson, Prop 8’s tribunes now are saying that they were jobbed by the umpire’s bias.

[…]

Judge Walker’s decision is going to stand or fall on appeal on its merits; whether the ballot initiative violated the equal protection rights of California’s citizens to marry their same-sex partners. It is going to be decided upon whether his findings of fact and conclusions of law were correct, and reasonable, and legally justifiable. It is not going to be decided by whom the judge is dating or what his sexual orientation may be. And it is certainly not going to be decided because a trial judge failed to disclose to the litigants before him who he was (or was not) seeing during the trial.

No reasonable person in America today would challenge a black judge by claiming he could not fairly judge a civil rights case. No reasonable person in America today would challenge a female judge claiming she could not fairly judge a case about women’s health. What we have here with this new argument, then, is a vestige of the very bias and bigotry that gay and lesbian Americans have had to deal with for all these years. How ironic that a case designed to eliminate official prejudice would generate such prejudice against an official. Like I said, Judge Walker surely deserves better than this offensive new wrinkle in the case of his lifetime.

P8TT friend and NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, in a statement, gets it right:

“This is a desperate and ill-advised move that underscores their inability to defend Prop 8 on the merits. This is not likely to win them any points with the courts, who understandably do not appreciate having the integrity of judges called into question based on such outrageous grounds. This is part and parcel of the underhanded way the Prop 8 campaign itself was run-based on lies, insinuations, and unsupported innuendo.”

Which is why, as I wrote last night, this may turn out to be a mistake.

Finally, if you missed it, Maggie’s prebuttal. Or something.

Any interesting takes you’re reading?

Update: A very good segment from KTVU in San Francisco, including Andrea from EQCA and Professor David Levine at UC Hastings.

120 Comments April 26, 2011

What NOM Chair Maggie Gallagher said about Judge Walker’s sexual orientation

By Adam Bink

This motion to vacate the ruling because of Judge Walker’s sexual orientation really does have my jaw on the floor. As Lambda Legal’s Jon Davidson wrote in a press release, it really is Hail Mary time.

It also has me in nostalgia mode. Last year, Maggie said:

Here we have an openly gay federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution.

Here’s Maggie Gallagher talking with Arisha during last year’s bus tour on whether Judge Walker’s sexual orientation is relevant or not:

I wrote at the time in a post titled “NOM Chair Maggie Gallagher’s 5-minute evolution on gay-baiting Judge Walker:

In the first five minutes of this video, she is just all over the place in her response. First she says “first of all, it’s relevant” to “I’m not sure it is relevant” to “it’s not necessarily relevant” to “it could be relevant” to “I don’t believe that it’s totally irrelevant” to finally admitting “I don’t know if it has a bearing or not”. Eventually, she says, “if he upheld Prop 8, I think it’d be even more relevant”- clearly drawing a line between his sexual orientation and his judgment, even if she doesn’t want to admit it.

Yesterday’s news shows people like Maggie and Andy Pugno really are willing to say anything.

37 Comments April 26, 2011

Prop 8 sponsors file motion to vacate Judge Walker’s ruling following disclosure of his sexual orientation

By Adam Bink

They really are grasping at straws now:

The sponsors of California’s same-sex marriage ban said Monday that the recent disclosure by the federal judge who struck down Proposition 8 that he is in a long-term relationship with another man has given them new grounds to have his historic ruling overturned.

Lawyers for the ban’s backers filed a motion in San Francisco’s U.S. District Court, arguing that Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker should have removed himself from the case or at least disclosed his relationship status because his “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”

“Only if Chief Judge Walker had unequivocally disavowed any interest in marrying his partner could the parties and the public be confident that he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the case,” attorneys for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that put Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot wrote.

They are now asking the judge who inherited the case when Walker retired at the end of February to vacate Walker’s August 2010 decision. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already is reviewing the legal merits of Walker’s ruling at the request of Proposition 8’s proponents.

Lawyers for the two same-sex couples who successfully sued for the right to marry in Walker’s court were reviewing the motion and did not have immediate comment.

[…]

Lawyers for Protect Marriage, the coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8, however, have not previously raised his sexual orientation as a legal issue.

Protect Marriage general counsel Andy Pugno said that changed when the judge this month told a group of courthouse reporters about his 10-year relationship. The issue is not that Walker is gay, but that his relationship status made him too similar to the same-sex couples who sued for the right to marry, Pugno said.

“We deeply regret the necessity of this motion. But if the courts are to require others to follow the law, the courts themselves must do so as well,” Pugno added.

Walker said at the time that he did not consider his sexual orientation to be any more a reason for recusal than another judge’s race or gender normally would be.

I wonder if Pugno and Co. would say that being a woman would imperil a female judge’s impartiality in a case on abortion. Or that conservative Supreme Court Justice Thomas should recuse himself on civil rights cases.

In all seriousness, the vision that the proponents of Prop 8 have for the country and our legal system is a dystopia.

Update: The motion can be found here (h/t Kathleen).

Update 2: Reading through, the hearing on this is set for July 11th at 9 AM in San Francisco. You can bet I’ll be there providing coverage.

Update 3: Checking in with some top legal minds who are colleagues and friends, there seems to be universal consensus that this was a mistake will piss off the 9th Circuit and probably judges everywhere. The reason why is simple: judges don’t like having their impartiality, or the impartiality of their colleagues, questioned. It’s a very slippery slope: married men who have marital troubles making ruling on divorce proceedings, women ruling on domestic abuse or abortion cases, African-Americans ruling on discrimination. Really, the slippery slope includes pretty much everyone. If there are accusations of bias, let’s see hard evidence. Otherwise, Andy Pugno dug an even deeper hole.

270 Comments April 25, 2011

Couples Torn Apart by the Government: Marriage News Watch for April 25, 2011

By Matt Baume

There’s going to be marriage more than ever before, with another survey showing majority support for the freedom to marry. So why are Republicans spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend a law that could tear apart legally married couples like Henry and Josh? There’s promising signs for marriage in New York and Scotland, but a legal setback in Montana is likely to postpone weddings for years. And the internet’s most popular weekly LGBT marriage news video show gets a brand new logo.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfScYJLQo30&w=640&h=390]

You’ve probably noticed that “This Week in Prop 8” is now “Marriage News Watch.” It’s basically the same show, only with a better name, a better website, a better logo, and now I’m standing on the left.

Click here to subscribe to our new YouTube channel, and visit us over at MarriageNewsWatch.com to find our new Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our RSS feed, and our email newsletter.

And there’s also one more change: more guests and contributors. And that’s where you come in. Whatever the name, I produce this show for the LGBT community, because we’re all fighting for marriage equality together. And now the show’s not just FOR the community — it’s also going to be BY the community.

I interview a lot of leaders and newsmakers, and I want to hear from you. If there’s news happening near you — a hearing, a protest, someone hurt by discrimination — get in touch with us so we can share your story.

For example, here’s some photos of the tax day protest in Los Angeles last week. Nothing too fancy — the organizers at GetEQUAL just took a few photos, sent ’em along, and now we all can see what happened and get inspired to take our own actions.

And even if nothing’s happening right now, we still want to have an army of newswatchers on the ground, to be the first to let the community know when something important pops up.

We have eyes and ears all over the world. So let’s get connected. Write to contact@marriagenewswatch.com if you’ve got a story to tell right now, or if you can sit tight and sound the alarm when news happens near you.

Let’s take a look at news headlines this week — there’s a lot to talk about.

Another survey this week shows national majority support for marriage. This time it’s a CNN poll that puts us ahead by 51 to 47 percent. Now, that’s still a narrow margin, but they didn’t interview people under 35, so the number’s likely higher.

This is the fourth recent survey to show us pulling ahead, but Congressional Republicans are still pursuing regressive anti-gay campaigns.

This past week John Boehner revealed that he’s hired Paul Clement, a lawyer with the firm King & Spalding, to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. Taxpayers are going to pay big for Clement. He typically charges $900 an hour, and although he’s giving Boehner a slight discount, his contract sets aside half a million dollars, just for starters.

That contract also contains a gag order, preventing any King & Spalding employees from advocating for DOMA’s repeal. The firm currently has a rating of 95% from the Human Rights Campaign, but not for long. HRC has launched a campaign to make sure King & Spaulding’s clients, employees, and law schools know that the firm’s raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars by actively harming LGBT gay couples.

For an example of that harm, we don’t have to look any further than Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia in New Jersey, who Courage Campaign and AllOut have filmed and on who behalf launched an emergency petition to Secretary Napolitano. Now, even though they’re legally married, the Department of Homeland Security is trying to deport Henry back to Venezuela.

This Friday, Immigration and Customs denied a request to terminate removal proceedings. They didn’t have to do that. They have the freedom to put cases like those on hold. And in fact, they do it all the time for straight couples. For example, with the widows of combat veterans.

Henry and Josh aren’t asking the government to recognize their marriage, just to respect it. But time’s running out — they’ll have their final deportation hearing on May 6th. For more information, let’s turn to one of the men at the center of that story.

MATT: We’re talking to Josh Vandiver right now. Josh is facing a deportation of his partner Henry. Josh, I want to get some more details about who you guys are. How did you meet Henry?

JOSH: Well Henry and I met here in Princeton, New Jersey, four and half years ago now. And we sort of hit it off immediately. I hadn’t ever had that experience with anyone else. We went to dinner, I remember sitting across from the dinner table with him and there was a little light between us, and it was lighting up his face and his smile. And I sort of forgot about what he was saying at certain points just because I was enamored with him. And we ended up spending every day with each other after that point and moved in after a few months and it was all happily ever after from that point on.

MATT: Was there a point at which you knew this is the guy that I want to spend the rest of my life with?

JOSH: It was interesting, we never fought, we always just loved being with each other over the months and years that we were together, so within a year or two we started thinking, at least I started seriously thinking, yeah, this is the person that I’d like to marry and spend the rest of my life with.

MATT: How long have you been together?

JOSH: Well four and half years, almost, and then we’ve been married for eight months or so. We married in August of 2010.

MATT: It must be difficult to plan your life together and your careers with this uncertainty about his citizenship hanging over your heads.

JOSH: Yeah, it’s a huge uncertainty. I mean, my future is being determined on May 6th as well. That’s the date when Henry’s judge could say that GHenry is going to be deported shortly thereafter. So I can’t go about building my life with him. We can’t build our life together with that date hanging over us like that. He’s a dancer, a salsa dancer, I’m a graduate student in politics, I want to be a professor someday. So that’s our life, and we want to just go about building it together. That’s why we to get past this threat of deportation which is so amazing that this could something that an American would be facing. Having their spouse deported.

MATT: Now that you’re facing this potential separation, can you imagine how you would say goodbye to Henry if the country made him leave?

JOSH: No. I couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to my spouse. I mean, it would be a minimum of ten years that we would be separated if that were to happen. And I’m determined not to let that happen. Not to let my spouse be deported and separated from me like that. There are so many other couples like us who are facing this kind of situation, with their spouse being ripped away from them. And it’s unnecessary. The executive branch could decide right now to stop these deportations. We understand that the Defense of Marriage Act is the law of the land as the President has said, but there’s nothing that dictates that he has to, and his administration have to actively prosecution the deportations of spouses of American citizens, due to a law that he thinks is unconstitutional.

MATT: So, if people want to help and contribute to this cause of stopping these deportations, what do you recommend, how can people get involved?

JOSH: The most urgent thing is that we all have to work in ways to convince secretary Napolitano and Holder, the Attorney General, to take these steps. We can do that by contacting our congresspeople, our Senators and Congressmen. We have a petition to Napolitano. And urging them to take action, basically. The executive branch. We have a petition you can find thought our Facebook page, Facebook.com/saveourmarriage, and there’s a petition through AllOut.org, which is a major organization that’s helping us as well. And then each of us individually can contact our members of Congress. And ultimately, they need to join the handfull of members of Congress that have already done so in calling on Napolitano to make this decision right away, it’s urgent. This is irreparable harm that I as an American and other Americans will suffer if our spouses are taken away from us while this Defense of Marriage Act is being challenged and its fate determined.

MATT: Yeah. Time’s really of the essence. So hopefully we can get as many people involved as possible. Josh, thank you so much for speaking with us and I really wish you the best of luck with pursuing this.

JOSH: Thank you very much Matt.

You can help Josh and Henry by signing the emergency petition, and by putting pressure on your Congresspeople. Call their offices and ask if they’ve signed the letters to Janet Napolitano, asking to halt deportation proceedings for LGBT couples. If they have, say thanks. If they’re on the fence or if they haven’t, tell them about Henry and Josh.

Meanwhile, while we ratchet up the noise on immigration, marriage might finally happen in New York state. For more on that situation, let’s check in with Cathy Marino-Thomas, Board President of Marriage Equality New York.

MATT: Cathy, it looks like the legislature is going to take up the marriage equality bill soon. Any estimate for when that’s going to happen?

CATHY: Well, we’ve heard anywhere from three weeks to six weeks. So we’re hoping for the three weeks.

MATT: Right. Things didn’t go so smoothly in 2009, what’s going to be different this time around?

CATHY: Well, you know, the governor is a much more politically powerful person than our last governor was. Although he was fabulous. This governor seems to have relationships on both sides of the aisle, that’ll be extremely helpful. He’s from a political family. They’re very well-connected and they do very well on social justice type issues. He has a very good record. He’s putting an awful lot of promise behind this. We are also working … there are much more volunteers on the ground this time. There’s much more concentrated effort. More in the bipartisan way. So I think all in all, I think we’re looking at a really strong momentum here in New York.

MATT: What’s Marriage Equality New York doing to push this forward.

CATHY: We have volunteers out every night, getting letters signed, making flash phone calls on cell phones to Senators’ offices, at train stations and bus depots, in front of supermarkets and in malls. We’re targeting the Senators a little better. We have, oh my God, we are working all over the state this time, we have everywhere from western New York to very high up North, to the city areas and all the boroughs. We’re working with HRC and Empire State Pride Agenda, with GetEQUAL, with Marriage Equality New York. All in coalition together. Freedom to Marry is on board here. We have coordinated press releases going out. We’re just getting it in the news everywhere we can. Queer Rising has been wonderful with some street action around this. As we all know, no social justice issue gets accomplished without a good street action or two. So really, everyone is just putting everything they have into it this time.

MATT: New York already has domestic partnerships, what’s an example of a situation where domestic partnership just isn’t the same, or isn’t good enough as a substitute and people need marriage?

CATHY: Well, domestic partnerships here in New York are really territorial. So we have one domestic partnership that’s only for New York City and the five boroughs. Outside of that, there is no coverage. That will gain you around ten rights. And just for the record it costs a dollar more than a marriage license. Just saying.

MATT: So if people want to get involved and help out, what should they do, where should they go?

CATHY: www.MENY.us for Marriage Equality New York. To get involved with the grassroots effort. That’s the most direct way you can get to us though our direct website, or through Marriage Equality USA as well, there’s a link on that website that also will bring you to us.

MATT: And are there ways for people around the country who may not be in New York to help?

CATHY: Oh yes. You can donate through either Marriage Equality USA or Marriage Equality New York directly. You can do phone calls online much like we’re communicating now. We have systems now where we can set you up with a little list of the right senators to call and you can call them remotely. The letter writing is always good. And through Facebook, also if you know anyone in New York, you can connect them with us through Facebook, on Twitter, through the website, and in all the various additional ways.

MATT: Fantastic. Cathy Marino-Thomas is the Board President of Marriage Equality New York. Cathy, thank you so much for joining us.

CATHY: Thank you and I know we’ll be speaking again through this next few weeks, so thanks Matt.

MATT: All right.

CATHY: Have a good night.

MATT: Thanks.

Now for a quick roundup of headlines around the world.

A setback in Montana as a judge rules that he can’t force the legislature to provide marriage equality. The ACLU is likely to appeal that ruling.

After a disappointing legislative session, Equality Maryland’s board has fired executive director Morgan Meneses-Sheets.

Over in Scotland, four out of five major parties support marriage for gay couples. And as Prince William and Kate Middleton gear up for their wedding, protests at Buckingham Palace are pushing the couple to support marriage for British subjects.

That’s the news this week. Thanks for joining us.

Remember, we have all new everything now that we’re Marriage News Watch. Click here to subscribe to our new YouTube channel, and visit us over at MarriageNewsWatch.com to find our new Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our RSS feed, and our email newsletter.

Or you can take a shortcut and go to MNwatch.com.

See you next week.

40 Comments April 25, 2011

King and Spaulding file motion to withdraw from DOMA defense; Clement resigns from firm

By Adam Bink

Just out this morning. Here’s a statement from their Chairman, Robert D. Hays, Jr.:

“Today the firm filed a motion to withdraw from its engagement to represent the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.  Last week we worked diligently through the process required for withdrawal.

“In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate.  Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created.”

In response, Paul Clement tendered his resignation and will join Bancroft PLLC:

“I resign out of the firmly held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client’s legal posotion is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular clients is what lawyers do,” Clement wrote to King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays. “I recognized from the outset that this statute implicate very sensitive issues that prompt strong views on both sides. But having undertaken the representation, I believe there is no honorable course for me but to complete it.”

Clement’s full letter can be found here.

A very strong win in terms of the message it sends: defending discrimination is not okay. It also lessens some of the credibility that would have been gained for DOMA.

Thanks to all of you who wrote into the Los Angeles Times to rebut their editorial and contacted King and Spaulding.

Update: Speaker Boehner’s spokesperson responds:

The Speaker is disappointed in the firm’s decision and its careless disregard for its responsibilities to the House in this constitutional matter. At the same time, Mr. Clement has demonstrated legal integrity, and we are grateful for his decision to continue representing the House. This move will ensure the constitutionality of this law is appropriately determined by the courts, rather than by the President unilaterally.

199 Comments April 25, 2011

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